I recently read an article in the November 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping titled “The Price of Staying Bronzed” (page 42), on the dangers of using tanning beds. Here are some important points you should consider before going “under the light“.
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, “spending 20 hours or more of indoor tanning, spread over a lifetime, can ‘double your risk of melanoma‘. Spending 50 hours or more in a tanning bed will ‘triple your chance‘ of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”
When researchers compared melanoma patients with cancer-free individuals, they were able to debunk many “safety” myths out there on tanning beds. Here are some of those myths:
- Getting a base tan from a tanning booth before hitting the beach will keep you safe. Wrong! You can not buy a protective base tan. The truth is, “people who got sunburned despite salon tanning were at even higher risk for cancer.”
- One tanning bed is “safer” than others. Wrong! Although different tanning beds emit different amounts of UVA and UVB rays, they are all dangerous and increase your risk of melanoma.
- Tanning beds are more popular with blonds. Wrong! “Indoor tanning raises your risk of cancer by the same proportion in everyone, no matter their hair color, age, skin tone, or number of moles and freckles.”
If after reading this article you are still tempted to get that “winter glow” from tanning beds, consider a good self-tanning cream. There are many on the market that won’t streak or turn your skin orange. Also, remember to use a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater when spending time in the sun!